Public Health Ethics (PHIL 441)
Instructor: Carina Fourie firstname.lastname@example.org
Tue & Thu 9.30am - 11.20am in EEB 125
The philosophy and ethics of public health are growing fields of systematic study. As the focus of public health ethics is on the health of a public or a population, rather than on individual patients, and often on prevention rather than on treatment, public health ethics appears to raise different questions and require unique answers to other fields of bioethics. Over the last decade there has been greater recognition of the distinctiveness of public health ethics as a field, and it is gradually developing into an independent sub-discipline of bioethics, with significant links to political philosophy and the philosophy of science, among other philosophical fields.
In this course, we will investigate public health ethics as a distinctive field of applied ethics. In order to do so, we will assess what it means that public health focuses on populations and on prevention. We will also consider the particularity of the sciences associated with public health as well as the methods with which one does public health ethics. In conjunction, we will be attempting to answer central normative ethical questions and to assess real-life public health program and policies. For example, we will examine applied problems associated with vaccinations, racial disparities in health, age and age discrimination, HIV-AIDS, and global health.
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Click on the following links for the course readings and additional materials (also found in 'Modules'):
This course provides an in-depth study of the philosophical issues arising in the practice and policy of public and population health. Topics covered include assessment of the concept of ‘population’ and its ethical implications, the ethics of compulsory vaccination and targeted HIV-AIDS screening, and the philosophy of epidemiology. Material consists mainly of texts from philosophy and ethics, but, due to the course's interdisciplinary nature, also includes papers from epidemiology, newspaper articles, and actual WA state public health regulations.
TEXT: No Textbook Required – course materials will be available on Canvas.